Free-to-play games typically lose 70 per cent of initial user base

Former Empire: Total War designer Jan van der Crabben warns free-to-play developers to expect a 70 per cent drop in initial registered users.

Crabben, speaking during a keynote at GDC Europe, emphasized that player retention is key for free-to-play titles to find any kind of success.

Crabben went on to explain that while the majority of players will walk away from a f2p title within the first few minutes of registering, those who reach the fourth day of playing will generally continue to stick around.

That’s why he believes titles in the genre must hook players in the first few minutes to have a chance at success. Crabben added that developers should consider 30 per cent retention of its registered base to be a success.

He also complimented World of Warcraft, stating that it perfects what f2p games should strive for with a constant reward system that’s an ideal example of how to retain a user base.

Crabben is currently working as senior game designer at Travian Games, which develops browser-based free-to-play titles including Travianand Imperion.

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